“ We all have ability. The difference is how we use it. ” — Stevie Wonder
You’re likely already taking steps to create a more sustainable future for your community, using your individual abilities in different ways. Reusing shopping bags, buying locally produced food, volunteering for a nonprofit, or switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs all help, but given the limitations of time, knowledge, skill and location, you may wonder, “What more can I do?”
Two voluntary programs offered by Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light remove those obstacles, giving the customers they serve the special ability to contribute directly to local, renewable electricity resources development. PCC Natural Markets is partnering with both utilities to spread the word and make it easy to participate in these programs.
Green power to the people
“Green power” is electricity generated from renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass. Green power programs offer residential and commercial customers the opportunity to buy this electricity, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and promote present and future access to clean, local supplies of energy.
Available in areas served by PCC Natural Markets (King and Snohomish counties), these programs rely on small, monthly premiums paid by power company customers that cover the additional cost incurred by the utilities for incorporating green electricity in their power mix. Through their participation, Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light green power purchasers directly fund renewable energy projects located in the Pacific Northwest. Neither utility profits from their programs.
A monthly commitment to going green
Residential customers of Seattle City Light can sign up to participate in the Green Up! Program, and choose from three levels at which they can purchase regionally produced renewable power. A cost of $3, $6 or $12, added monthly to their electricity bill, correspond to power usage levels of 25 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent for the average City Light customer. The Green Up! Program sources renewable energy from projects such as the Stateline Wind Project in Eastern Washington, one of the largest renewable wind projects in the United States.
Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program also gives residents and businesses the ability to support specifically Pacific Northwest renewable energy projects. Residential customers have two options; they can purchase renewable energy to offset 100 percent of their monthly usage, at a cost of $.0125 per kilowatt (kWh), or buy blocks of renewable energy. An average household uses about 800 kWhs each month, so the 100 percent option equates to about $10 added to a typical electric bill. One block of energy — 160 kWhs — costs $2; the minimum program purchase is $4 and any multiple of $2 is possible. Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program is certified by Green-e Energy, the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy.
A natural partnership
PCC locations have been powered by electricity from clean, renewable resources for the past three years, currently at a level of 25 percent overall. Support of the green power programs offered by Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light is an integral part of PCC’s commitment to sustainable operations that go well beyond responsible energy consumption. Part of that commitment is partnering with local organizations and utilities to help those who want to be more environmentally responsible act on their good intentions.